By Chioma Agwuegbo
So, online media has had a field day analysing MI’s recent appearance on Osagie Alonge’s podcast series. To be honest, I avoided it; I kept on telling myself I would stay away from it, and I was successful, up till today.
A colleague played the #LooseTalkPodcast in the office this afternoon, I listened, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the bits I listened to. Tweeted a bit, even made a Facebook post on it, but the matter didn’t leave me so I thought I’d provide some more context here.
For starters, here’s the video. Make sure you have approximately three hours to set on fire, and note that it’s not suitable for work because of all the cursing.
Again, I’m not a ‘hip-hop head’; this is to preempt the ones whose only basis for disagreement with this will be “you do not understand hip hop, you’re not a hip-hop head. I agree in advance.
Fact: Osagie Alonge was rude; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Also fact: MI’s calmness is #goals. Either that or he has a liking for masochism. If my memory serves Osagie has taken quite a few swipes at him in the past, almost, as it were, building (or attempting to build) notoriety off ‘critiquing’ Jude.
I thought I would take a few minutes to look up the word ‘critique’, because Osagie went on and on about people saying he was negative when he was only ‘critiquing’ their work. Here goes.
Critique – to evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way. It refers more to literary, theoretical or philosophical bodies of work, but stretches to other forms of artistic expression. It is from the Greek word kritikē, from kritikos meaning ‘able to discern.’
Where was the analysis? Where was the careful, structured presentation of fact backing the many wild allegations he made? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Even law has it that “he who alleges/asserts must prove.” At some point he was yelling, “we have the receipts, we have the facts.” Where were they? The reference to his colleague as his data back up?
Yet, there was no desire to brook any facts countering his opinions. MI came back with a few statistics on album ranking, money he’s made off the album in question, etc., Osagie disputed them, citing the difference in demographics. So let’s get this straight – you make a claim (without facts), it is countered with facts, you reject the counter (without facts), but somehow we’re all supposed to take your opinion as law?
Speaking of opinions, Isaac Asimov said, “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Emphasis on ‘your’ – no one is under any obligation to agree with you, even if you’re their fan.
I do not know that I would ever be able to sit through that amount of swearing & disrespect in the name of critique or fandom. I know quite a few Nigerian artistes who would have walked out, who might have even thrown a few punches.
Call me old-fashioned, but there are still standards for public-facing conversations, even private ones. Some might say interviews for podcasts cannot be viewed through the lens of textbook journalism, but do you want to be taken seriously or not? Hiding behind ‘my opinion’ or ‘I said what I said’ or ‘I can say this because I’m a long time fan’ to put down your guest is unprofessional. It was worse because both guest and the lead interviewer kept referring to being friends. Friendship? Who needs enemies?
It’s not even about my respect for Jude Abaga (which has quadrupled since listening to this), it’s about the decency of engagement which was missing. Talking over the guest, interrupting him the entire time, downright rubbishing his work, this was painful to watch/listen to.
In my short time facilitating learning around strategic communication and advocacy I always warn against inadvertently drowning out the message because of the language, the messenger, or even the design. In engineering it’s referred to as the signal-to-noise ratio; where the background noise adversely affects the strength and utility of an electrical signal. This was quite messy, overflowing with emotion, and lacking the coherence to justify doing it in the first place.
Finally, I probably won’t ever endure listen to #LooseTalkPodcast again; I cringed for all of the 90 minutes I got through. I probably don’t like music this much, or maybe my expectations for 2 hours 47 minutes are too high.
This piece was first published on HuffPost.
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